Baseline measurement crucial first step for biodiversity management

June 19, 2024

On Thursday, 20 June, from 15:00 to 15:45 hours, BNP Paribas and the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) will host a webinar on integrating biodiversity policy into corporate strategy. Freek van Til, Project Manager at VBDO, and Camille Maclet, Global Biodiversity Lead at BNP Paribas Group, will share their perspectives on the financial risks of biodiversity loss and how to mitigate these risks and counter biodiversity loss.

Making businesses accountable for preserving and restoring biodiversity starts with providing insight. An initial step is to encourage companies to conduct a baseline measurement, which makes biodiversity loss visible and turns it into a ‘manageable problem’ for policymakers. By involving the entire organization in the results and collaborating with nature organizations and ecologists, effective policies can be developed to gradually improve the baseline situation. Various methodologies are available for this purpose.

Measurability makes a problem manageable and is therefore crucial to the success of biodiversity policy. By quantifying biodiversity and its loss, companies can formulate clear and achievable goals. For example, “Within three years, we aim to increase the number of native plant species on our premises by 20%.” Setting targets according to the SMART methodology (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time-bound) simplifies measuring effectiveness.

Nature Ladder

A practical step towards achieving biodiversity goals is the use of the ‘Nature Ladder’. This ladder offers a structured method for systematically assessing the impact of projects and business activities:

  • Nature-Unaware: building without considering the impact on nature.
  • Nature-Friendly: ad-hoc implementation of nature-inclusive initiatives.
  • Nature-Conscious: structurally integrating nature-inclusive building by identifying opportunities for nature and discussing them with the project developer.
  • Nature-Inclusive: engaging various stakeholders, alongside the client, to sustainably enhance local biodiversity and natural capital.
  • Nature-Adaptive: building in harmony with nature, fully integrating biodiversity and climate adaptation.

Mitigation Hierarchy

For a systematic approach that is broadly applicable to production processes and supply chains, the mitigation hierarchy provides useful guidelines. This hierarchy consists of four steps: avoid, minimize, restore, and compensate. The primary goal should be to avoid negative impact. When unavoidable, impacts should be minimized. In damage occurs, companies have a responsibility to restore affected ecosystems. As a last resort, compensation can be used to offset remaining negative impacts.

“Companies are increasingly aware of their dependence on their natural environment and are proactively looking for ways to contribute to the restoration of biodiversity. With smart measurement tools, the impact of business activities becomes visible, making it easier to take measures that have a positive, or at least not negative, impact. Raising awareness and making the issues visible, is a powerful combination to start addressing the biodiversity crisis. Ensuring a healthy planet for future generations is everyone’s responsibility.”

Freek van Til, VBDO Project Manager Sustainability & Responsible Investing

Interested to join the webinar? Register here.

Date: 20 June, 15:00 – 15:45

The webinar will be in English